Installing a snorkel on your 4×4 offers many great benefits; increased air getting to the engine, cleaner air, and improved wading depth, just to name a few.
Every vehicle and brand of snorkel will differ slightly, so this won’t be a step by step ‘how to’ 4×4 snorkel installation. This is a guide on the essential things you need to consider when planning to install a 4wd snorkel yourself.
1. Buy good quality – There is nothing more important than this. A snorkel is one of those accessories you don’t want to take any chances with. When you have water coming over your bonnet you’ll be glad you didn’t take the cheap option. And trust me, as much as that knock off eBay snorkel might look like a good quality Safari snorkel, it isn’t. We have always used a TJM snorkel and have never had any issues.
TIP: Good quality snorkel = good quality template = problem free installation.
2. The right tools – Make sure you have all the right tools for the job. Remember that drilling holes in your car is permanent. If you don’t have sharp, good quality drill bits go and get some. At minimum, get the sizes you need to install your 4wd snorkel. Make sure you have plenty of masking tape, automotive silicon and rust prevention paint.
TIP: A spray of WD40 on the drill bit before drilling will help it to cut easier. Also use a water spray to keep the drill bits and hole saw cool while cutting.
3. Triple check the template – Before even placing the template, make sure it lines up with the pins and hole on the snorkel. After applying the template check the snorkel against the quarter panel and see if it all lines up properly. Recheck everything, now hold your breath and drill. Success! That’s the hard part over.
4. Paint & deburr all holes – Ensure you take your time and do a good job. Even give the quarter panel a good polish because realistically you are never going to take the snorkel off again.
5. Make sure it’s sealed – Test fit the snorkel and get an idea of how it all goes together first. Then pull it apart and go nuts with the silicone before refitting it. I’d rather use too much silicone and know it’s water tight than not enough and find out the hard way. Most 4wds have some sort of drain in the bottom of the air box, check it out and decide if you are going to block it.
TIP: If you block the top of your 4×4 snorkel, it will start to starve your engine of air; that’s how you’ll know if you have a perfect seal. DO NOT do this until your silicone has had adequate time to dry.
Installing a snorkel on your 4wd isn’t going to magically turn it into a submarine. It definitely will help with water crossings, but remember that there are also electrics inside your vehicle that water will kill. While you are moving through water, not a lot will get into the engine bay; but if you get stuck that will quickly change and this is where you will run into problems.
Remember to check the depth, get a feel for the base of what your intending on driving through. Be really careful around deep flowing water – if you can’t walk it, don’t drive it. And most importantly, if it’s flood water – forget it! You never know what damage lies beneath floodwaters. Click here for more 4wd safety tips!